Weekly Columns

Strengthening the Nation's Energy Security

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Washington, March 29, 2017 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

This week, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) to roll back the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) misguided, job-killing Clean Power Plan (CPP), a key component of the Obama administration’s war on coal. I was pleased with the president’s action because these regulations have been hugely detrimental to our region’s economy – from southwestern Virginia’s coal mining jobs to jobs at Erwin’s railroad depot being just two examples. Further, if left in place, the CPP could have increased Tennesseans’ energy bills. 

The CPP proposes existing coal-powered plants reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. This approach was so unpopular that Democrats were unable to pass the plan, which was widely known as the Cap and Tax Plan, when they controlled both branches of Congress and the White House in 2009. In fact, the CPP has been challenged by over 150 entities, including 28 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops and three labor unions. Fortunately, on February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States granted a stay on the CPP, halting its implementation.

As I’ve said before, we all want to have clean air and clean water, and according to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the coal industry has invested nearly $120 billion to reduce emissions by 90 percent from November 2014 through 2016. Unfortunately, the previous administration was not solely interested in reducing emissions; their goal was to end the use of coal as an energy source altogether.

Under President Trump’s EO to strengthen the nation’s energy security, unnecessary regulatory obstacles are reduced. Many of these regulations restrict the responsible use of our vast energy resources which help keep electricity affordable and reliable. I believe we can utilize clean energy resources and pair those with fossil fuels to boost the economy and create jobs. American electricity producers utilize cutting edge technology to deliver clean power to American businesses and families, and President Trump’s plan is to have clean air and water while also promoting strong economic growth and job creation. This is what the American people expect and this is what the EPA will work to deliver under this new policy directive.

To parallel with President Trump’s EO, this week the House passed H.R. 1430, the HONEST Act. This bill will “prohibit the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.” Basically, this bill will ensure that the data the EPA uses to back its regulations is transparent and publicly available.  Full disclosure will ensure that the EPA has accountability within the research they produce.

I look forward to working with the Trump administration to make domestic electricity production safer, cleaner and more affordable.

As always, feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. 
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Tags: Energy